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We are delighted that the ad hoc Committee is to look in detail at a number of specific issues, some of which we raised in our initial response to the proposals. The Audit Commission has already lost a large number of excellent staff because of the abolition plans, and if we are to maintain a level of expertise in a complex and critical area, then it is vital these issues are reviewed and ruled on as quickly as possible
—John Davies, head of technical, ACCA

Issues need to be resolved quickly if expertise is not to be lost

The rare step by the House of Commons to appoint an ad hoc Committee to scrutinise the Draft Local Audit Bill not only shows there is widespread unease about the initial proposals to abolish the Audit Commission, but also provides an opportunity to tackle serious concerns about the effectiveness, cost, accountability and transparency of the future audit of public spending, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

The ad hoc Committee, which has called for submissions by October 15, is looking at  a range of specific issues around the proposals to replace the Audit Commission, including whether allowing local bodies to appoint their own independent external auditor will work and provide adequate safeguards; if it will lead to a cost saving and whether smaller firms can compete with larger bodies when it comes to the provision of audit services. 

ACCA had already warned in 2011 that the draft Bill was not addressing all the checks and balances required for strong public audit, and had called on the Government to consider carefully whether the proposals would place significant amounts of public money at risk or would fail to provide assurance about value for money. 

ACCA had also expressed serious concerns about how the decision to abolish the Audit Commission was made, saying there was ‘little excuse for policy that is made on the hoof’ and said it was disappointing the Minister could not provide any evidence to support the predicted £50m of savings that were announced by the Government in August 2010'. It also warned there was a risk that the approach that used the skills and experience of auditors to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of public services would be lost - an issue which is now being consulted on by the ad hoc Committee.

John Davies, Head of Technical at ACCA, said: 'We are delighted that the ad hoc Committee is to look in detail at a number of specific issues, some of which we raised in our initial response to the proposals. The Audit Commission has already lost a large number of excellent staff because of the abolition plans, and if we are to maintain a level of expertise in a complex and critical area, then it is vital these issues are reviewed and ruled on as quickly as possible.'

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For more information, please contact:

Colin Davis , ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5738
+44 (0) 7720 347713
colin.davis@accaglobal.com 

Notes to Editors

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.